A Special meeting with Wout Keur
1937 - 2007
At the time, I was approached by Coen Dortmond and Arie Timmer, whom I met annually at the RSB Senior Championships. Coen and Arie were involved in the chess day club in Ridderkerk. They asked me if I wanted to drop by sometime. With many chess clubs, the visit of the day clubs by the RSB president was sensitive because at that time many saw these clubs as competitors of the chess clubs. These day clubs were not affiliated with the KNSB and RSB and they could offer daytime chess for low dues. I myself was in favor of cooperating with these clubs wherever possible because the starting point of these clubs was noble and met and would continue to meet an important need. In the Rotterdam region at that time there were twenty thriving daytime clubs. The Chess Overdag Club Charlois was then one of the largest with around 50 members, half of whom were active club chess players. This club was founded by Cor van Lent, Lou van Persie and Kok van Drunen. Every year the members of this club still compete for the Lou van Persie Cup.
A golden pin for ...?
During my visit to the club in Ridderkerk I was asked if I would like to cooperate in applying for a gold pin for one of the members of this club who, for health reasons, was no longer a member of a chess club and therefore not a member of the RSB and KNSB. I was happy to cooperate and this led to a special meeting
Fifteen years ago I had a special meeting with Wout Keur in the community center 'De Fuik' in Ridderkerk-Drievliet.
Just after the war Wout Keur joined chess club "De Zwarte Dame" in Rotterdam-Zuid at a young age because his uncle Piet Keur also played chess there. (In a chess encounter (by telex) between Curaçao and the Netherlands, Piet Keur played against Max Euwe.)
Wout on Uncle Piet:
'As a 10-year-old I came in, shorts, pimple head and red hair! I was instructed by my uncle Piet as follows: Pay attention Woutertje, when they have poached the h-line MUST open and you give mate on h7!!! Even if it costs a piece, the h-line MUST be open, so go for it.'
Wout on R.S.V. The Black Lady (the predecessor of Shah Mata):
'We, former Black Lady members, retain from that atmospheric fine club of friends, the memory of our first steps on the 64 courts. You were trained: first as a friend , if that clicked you belonged and THEN you started learning chess. You had to hand in a passport photo for the big 'membership board'. Every member was on it! Everyone knew who everyone was.
I played as a boy against the father of Roel Warnik, (Roel 54 years in 2004 and still a member of Shah Mata.) I still see the theory evenings at photo HOOSE on the Dordtselaan, ah I see so much.'
At this association, Wout has held several board positions and became president at age 22. He played an important role in promoting chess in our region. He experienced the merger with chess association "De Gambiet" and this combination still exists in Rotterdam-Zuid under the name "Shah Mata". Wout moved to Zwijndrecht and played for another 10 years at a reasonably high level at chess association Dordrecht. In 1996 he had to quit active competitive chess for health reasons. It did not stop him from playing chess again but now at "Schaken Overdag" in Ridderkerk-Drievliet and in Zwijndrecht. "Chess Overdag" is one of the activities of the District Association Ridderkerk-Drievliet for which a room in "De Fuik" is made available free of charge to play chess on Thursday afternoons. This activity meets the needs of many older chess players. People get older, their health leaves something to be desired and they don't want to go out in the evening anymore. "Chess By Day" then fulfills an important social function and due to the increasing aging population, a significant growth of this activity was expected at that time.
In addition to chess, Wout, together with his wife, was active in bridge. 'The big difference between chess and bridge,' said Mrs. Keur, 'is that with chess it is your own fault if you lose but with bridge you can always blame your partner.'
Once a week Wout taught chess to his two grandsons (ages 6 and 8). The pride radiated from him when he told about his oldest grandson winning the first cup or when he could see on the Internet how many points his grandsons had scored again.
Wout told me about his worrisome health condition. He had a serious illness (lung cancer) and seemed to recover reasonably well thanks to good medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Then, unfortunately, other diseases such as prostate cancer and aneurysm revealed themselves.
Despite his illnesses, Wout had a positive attitude and whenever possible he came to play a game of chess during the day because it gave him the necessary distraction and he still enjoyed playing chess so much.
Presentation of the golden pin
Thursday, May 27, 2004 was the day. As RSB-chairman I was allowed to present the golden KNSB-pin to Wout. This presentation was carefully kept secret, besides Arie Timmer and Coen Dortmond also Mrs. Dortmond and Mrs. Keur were in the plot.
It was a complete surprise for Wout all the more since, besides the members of the Overdagclub, many old "chess mates" from Shah Mata and Dordrecht wanted to be present. Among them, for example, the "beer team" of Shah Mata, Henk v.d. Velden (over 80 years) and Jan Burki, both "comrades in arms" from the first hour at De Zwarte Dame (see also the photo series on our site). Nelis Burki, Jan's father, was also a member of the chess club. From SV Dordrecht there were Adri Timmermans, Jan Willem Versloot and others.
After speeches by the RSB chairman and Jan Burki, those present could congratulate Wout and hand him presents. Among other things, Wout received a new chessboard with pieces because he had given his board with pieces (once self-made by a dear family member) to his grandchildren because he did not use it at home anymore anyway!
And of course many stories from the old box. Wout visibly enjoyed all the attention and being together. Arie Timmer presented Mrs. Keur with a bouquet of beautiful flowers.
From Wout I later received the following reaction:
" By now I have also heard the whole story from my wife Hennie. It has seldom happened that I was speechless, but you managed to make it happen. My surprise, when entering the so-called "Fanclub of Arie" must have been clearly visible on my face! My wife said: "You went completely white!
It is not nothing when you suddenly, completely unexpectedly, see some of your "old pals" enter. You all played an incredible but beautiful game. Receiving that gold pin was a unique moment for me that I wouldn't have wanted to miss! The various gifts that accompanied it (new chess pieces with a board, with signatures of participating grandmasters at a tournament in the World Trade Center in Rotterdam, a delicious bottle of wine from the "Beer Team" of Shah Mata, a beautiful appropriate book (Het Ravijn, autobiography of fear) by Teun, written by journalist, writer and chess player Max Pam, the beautiful flowers for my wife, a game between him and me from 1982 reproduced by Shah Mata member Klaas de Ruijter with commentary and last but not least the pleasant being together that afternoon with all the "insiders" made that Thursday unforgettable for me. Teun, I very much appreciate that the chairman of the RSB has spent a lot of time and effort in awarding this KNSB gold pin to someone who is no longer a member of the KNSB. It testifies to a determination beyond the normal pattern of behavior. Kudos Teun to you and your staff behind the scenes. Arie also for you my personal thanks, in the end you have taken all the hassles on your neck for someone who has been a member of the group of daytime chess players in "The Fuik" for barely 3 months.
This celebration did not go unnoticed. The editors of the local weeklies in Zwijndrecht and Ridderkerk and of daily newspaper "De Dordtenaar" paid extensive attention to it.
Wout was unable to win the unequal battle and died in 2007.
Teun Korevaar, november 2019